The biggest problem with analyzing Trump’s next move is speculation. Talk is talk, nothing more. America seems to be obsessed with talk far before action can confirm, acquit, deny, indite, prove, or disprove. We don’t know what Trump will sign into law on Immigration until he signs it. But, he seems to be wise to America’s priorities where talk and action are concerned. Once again, he plays the rhetoric-obsessed section of society like a harp. He makes an offer, he sends a Tweet, he proposes a bill, and everyone gets up and sings in concert.
Take the removal of Taiwan’s “ROC” flag from the US government website as an expanded example. By not having any flag there, the flag can’t be wrong. The original ROC flag has the symbol of the KMT-Nationalist party in the upper corner—the same party that lost both the presidency and the legislature for the first time in history during the last general election. Many have called for the flag to change. So, removing the flag from the website could mean that the US no longer supports the KMT-Nationalists. If Taiwan were to declare independence from the mainland, the US government wouldn’t have the “wrong” flag on the website, nor if China were to attempt an invasion. While China may be thrilled and Taiwan may be angry, much more was involved by replacing the flag with pure white. Maybe “surrender” was the message, though it remains unclear to whom the word would be directed, even if that was the direction. What does remain clear is that the US government website is more important than anything else.
Once again, this time in the international sphere, the Trump administration won the war of words, this time without using any. What will happen, however, always remains yet to be seen until it happens.
This was the week of rouses and houses. Trump called a bipartisan meeting from Congress at the White House and, to the surprise of many, much of the meeting showed on video. Everyone seemed to get along. Viewers could see real, actual video of leaders in real, normal conversation. It was somewhat unusual and not the least bit jarring.
Then began the rouse and purported fake news. The Wall Street Journal is accused of reporting that Trump claims a good relationship with Kim Jong Un rather than that he would have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un. This was one of the more obvious misreports. Another included Trump speaking vulgarly about unfortunate nations in his bipartisan meeting at the White House.
While there is no recording of his comments to members of Congress, there is a recording of what Trump said to the Wall Street Journal, which so far has refused to change the disputed quote.
Whether Trump actually spoke the dirty word as reported is left up to a whosaidhesaidit argument on Capital Hill. The big change: Republicans actually spoke in Trump’s defense, that he didn’t use such words. That should be notoriety enough, when someone receives support from his own enemies.
Then, there was the rouse in Hawaii with a false invasion alarm. Don’t worry, Hawaii will think through what any Product Manager worth half of his salt would have drawn-up for a product roadmap well in advance. They will make it harder to press the “panic” button and equip their system with a “cancel” button to turn off the panic. Of course, it was all an accident and a big misunderstanding, nothing anyone needs to lose a job over.
In fact, the slew of rouses that trailed after the video of the president getting along with leaders in Washington was all a complete and coincidental “aligning of the planets”, such a celestial event that does happen in nature, such as blue moons and Halley’s Comet, except that the unusual string of rouses itself doesn’t seem to be worth covering in the press—at least not elsewhere.
Terrorist talk didn’t wait as the New Year arrived. Protests in Tehran have drawn two kinds of buzz: the first is that “keeping quiet” is the best way to respond, the second is that “economics” is the reason for the protests.
Taking the obvious first, people don’t protest and riot merely over economics. This is a clear attempt by de facto pro- status quo pundits and media personalities to diminish the matter. Iranian people object to their government for the same reason everyone else does: it’s a tyrant and terrorist-sponsoring regime. Reporting that the cause and headline-worthy DNA of the protests in Iran are merely about the “economy” is an insult to both the protesters and the protest victims.
The more complex buzz—claiming that the best response is to “keep quiet”—has several levels of “irony”. Keeping quiet didn’t work with getting Otto Warmbier back from North Korea—a friend of Iran—when Obama instructed the same tactic with Otto’s family. So, “keeping quiet” has already proven to not work. Supporting protests discredits the protests and therefore gives more power to the current regime?—people in the press actually expect Americans to believe that? But, the largest of all contradictions coming from the Left relates to Trump himself. If “keeping quiet” is the way to win, why doesn’t the Left try “keeping quiet” about Trump, since they don’t seem to be stopping him with their constant heckling?
Reactions and spin aside, the US is in “tyranny-crackdown” mode. Perhaps the Iranian people are taking to the streets because they finally believe that when America speaks something will actually happen. That has been the evidence of the last year, anyway.
Trump visited China in friendship and peace. His granddaughter sang in Mandarin. Her video was played at a high profile state banquet. Everyone seemed happy.
In South Korea, President Moon, likely to go down in history as a failed diplomat-wannabe, rehashed South Korean hard feelings against the Japanese. His country— threatened by his enemy to the north, backed by its ally, China—is cozying-up with China.
Trump was en route to visit the DMZ in Korea, but heavy fog forced Marine One to turn around. The US president returned home and China sought to strengthen relations with North Korea.
Regardless of whatever happens in and between the US, Japan, China, and North Korea, South Korean President Moon will go down in history as a capitulator who let a century-old vendetta guide him into the friend of his enemy. While the Western press narrative is to paint China as the bad guy, Moon is the real bad guy because he is the only leader in Asia who shows weakness.
China would do well to learn from Moon’s errors. Every bit of progress China makes with Korea comes from pressing forward and abandoning revenge campaigns of the past. Everything South Korea stands to lose comes from reviving revenge campaigns of the past.
Korea, both North and South, has become an arena. With North Korea’s dependency on China and Moon’s capitulation, Koreans are no longer players in the game. Either the US or China will be the one to bring peace on the peninsula and the region. The winner will be whoever looks to the future and forgives the past.